Posy Simmonds | PAUL GRAVETT
A couple of months ago Posy Simmonds found herself ensconced in a for more than 40 years, most notably in this newspaper via the Weber family, . so would be free in the afternoons to meet up and get a bit bladdered. Posy Simmonds, the country's leading strip cartoonist, tells there is a cartoon in which various children's authors meet the public at a book launch. and she came up with the Webers, the kind of well-meaning, Left-liberal. - Explore LUCY COLEMAN's board "Artist: Posy Simmonds" on Pinterest. | See more ideas about Book Posy Simmonds - Mrs Weber. LUCY COLEMAN . Posy Simmonds MBE at Laydeez Do Comics' December Meeting.
Posy Simmonds - Literature
She is a great social commentator on the modern English not the British. The Webers are a long, long way from the Broons. She takes it at its polite and mealy-mouthed word, and social havoc ensues. She pricked consciences because it was so funny to see the anxious, guilty English middle classes writhe uncomfortably.
One of her favourite prickles was second homes. The smug upper-middle-class family with a second home is sure to suffer from cottage-related aggravation. The Cornish village of Tresoddit stands for all remote communities replete with second homes who only come to life for three days at Christmas and in the summer holidays.
Stanhope Wright uses his second home for his secret affairs that his wife really does not want to have to hear about. Posy Simmonds had a particular genius for pinning down the moment by how her characters dressed.
Her eye for contemporary fashions, especially of those she was taking down a few pegs, was unerring. I shrieked at the s pages, with her women in angular asymmetrical black art director typesor slimy advertising men wearing cinched-in baggy peg-tops and Miami Vice shades, and myopic, anxious businesswomen with huge shoulder pads.
Mrs Weber’s Diary
Contrariwise, she made sure that George and Wendy Weber wore the same style of dress for thirty years turtlenecks, waistcoats and hippy dirndls. Her grandparents' wisteria appears in one of his paintings and Simmonds would see him pushing his pram full of painting equipment through the village and once hid with a friend — not unlike Jody and Casey stalking Tamara — behind a tombstone to watch him paint the angel in Cookham churchyard.
I didn't have a beret, but I did have mascara'd eyes, pale, slightly zombie-like makeup and very straight hair. You've no idea what an impact that made when I went home.
Wearing black in the country just wasn't done. At Central she met husband-to-be Hollis, a lecturer there although he didn't teach her and they didn't get together until some years later. A more immediately important encounter was with the Fleet Street cartoonist Mel Calman who was impressed by her degree show.
Calman had introduced her to the journalist Jill Tweedie, then at the Sunday Telegraph and later a legendary figure on the Guardian, and Simmonds became her lodger. My best payer for illustration was the Reader's Digest for things such as their 'Humour in Uniform' slot. They gave wonderful instructions: I was always a freelance but I'd visit now and again and in those days cartoonists would have to do their stuff in the mornings and so would be free in the afternoons to meet up and get a bit bladdered.
At Christmas the whole street smelled of whisky.
But she worries that computer generated work is becoming "samey", and about the decline of political cartoons. But maybe it's a sign of the times. How interested are people in politics? Are they getting their satire on jokey emails? Then at some stage they took them off and it all started. Less thrilling were the standards of production. The idea probably should have been baked in the oven a bit longer as when it appeared there were all these letters saying it was bilge and the Guardian, being the Guardian, printed them.
Another paper would have tried something else, but I was allowed to get on with it and I discovered George and Wendy Weber. As I drew them I thought I knew them. George was teaching at a polytechnic but he wished he was at Cambridge. Wendy was one of those women you see on holiday with their split ends and their clogs who was juggling feminism with having a brood of children.
She was cartoonist of the year in andbut by the late 80s the Thatcherites had won and the Webers "somehow seemed less relevant to the rather more carnivorous times". Simmonds turned to both writing and illustrating children's books, which not only gave her a first opportunity to use colour, but also gave her a taste of book-length narrative.
In hindsight, her book True Love can be seen as her first graphic novel, but it was with the publication of Gemma Bovery in that she was first taken seriously in the genre. It was reviewed by literary heavyweights including Lisa Jardine and Elaine Showalter.
Eric Griffiths said he hoped "it wins the Booker". Was she apprehensive about taking on such an intimate and extensive engagement with a classic?
I was terrified when Gemma came out in France, but they did take it as a kind of homage.
In a way the Hardy adpatation wasn't so apparent, although it is probably more so in the film. From Hardy I nicked six main characters and some bits of the plot. And the fact that Tamara first appeared in the Guardian Review brought something extra to the idea of setting it in a writers' retreat.
You choose the location and the props.
I was Mrs Weber’s teenager | Vulpes Libris
You do the make-up and the lighting and you get the characters to act. I used to call it planning, now I call it pre-production. Which is where I am with my next project. It's a live creature hatching out.
Things can come to you because you're in a sort of panic. It's like rubbing two sticks together and you get a spark.